No, I’m not talking about supersonic travel, but rather fall college fairs sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (www.nacacnet.org) where you can speak directly with admission professionals from dozens of colleges nationwide.
Attending a college fair should be helpful, and leave you feeling energized, optimistic and confident about your future. However, with so many people and so much going on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted before you accomplish much. Whether you’re a sophomore or junior just beginning your college search, or a senior who is putting the final touches on your college list, pre-fair preparation is key.
Before the Fair
1. Pre-register at www.gotomyncf.com. Print your barcoded ID and bring it to the event.
2. Decide what you want to accomplish by attending the fair.
1. Use the fair to connect with colleges to which you’re planning to apply.
2. Determine a few things you don’t know about those schools and come to the fair prepared with thoughtful questions.
Junior & Sophomores
Ask yourself some questions to help you identify 5-10 colleges that you’ll want to visit at the fair.
1. What do you want to get from your college experience.
2. What factors describe the best learning environment for you?
3. How much academic pressure helps you achieve you best?
4. What academic programs & extracurricular activities would you like to participate in at college?
Time at the fair is limited, so decide on a few questions that are pertinent to you.
At the Fair
1. Use the college locator handout to determine which college booths you’ll visit.
2. Determine which information sessions you’ll attend and what times they’re offered.
3. Take notes–waiting until you get home is a mistake.
4. Get the names and contact information of people you meet.
5. Consider how representatives interact with you. Are they friendly? What do they communicate about their colleges?
1. If at all possible, let your teens take the lead about how to spend your time.
2. Refrain from speaking for your teens.
3. If you have questions for college representatives, go ahead and ask them.
4. Consider splitting off from your teens for at least part of the time. This will allow you to attend a financial aid presentation and your high schoolers to explore on their own.
Questions to Ask College Fair Representatives as You Start Your College Search
Ask open-ended questions which require more than a yes or no response.
Tell me about ____ College.
I’m interested in ___. What can you tell me about this program at your school?
What makes your college unique?
What is your college best-known for?
What do you like best about your college?
If you could change anything at your college, what would it be? Why?
Many college fairs have counselors as well as financial aid and testing professionals whose sole reason for being there is to support you. If you have questions or are unsure about how to make the best use of your time, be sure to meet with them.